I won’t boo ANY member of the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox… not even these guys

When I wrote about how I would give Manny Ramirez an ovation if I were at Fenway (and I do cheer for Manny when I go the six miles from my house to Dodger Stadium) I got some people asking me privately (and someone asked on the site) would I also cheer for Johnny Damon.

Of course.
Both Manny and Johnny were big parts of the 2004 team that all of us Red Sox fans waited our whole lives for. And the make up of the 2004 team was NOT a bunch of home grown Red Sox who all played together in Pawtucket. The 1975, 1978 and 1986 Red Sox teams were primarily home grown.

With the exception of Youk, Nixon, Varitek and Lowe, none of them spent their rookie years with the Red Sox. And even Varitek and Lowe were actually originally drafted by Seattle.

Most of the 2004 squad were picked up from other teams and assembled like a baseball answer to The Dirty Dozen, slapped together for a crazy mission to reverse the curse.

So it is disingenuous to get mad when a mercenary leaves for more money. Pedro, Damon, Manny, Foulke, Schilling et al came to the Red Sox via free agency or forced trades to make dough.

When Pedro signed with the Mets, Damon signed with the Yankees and Manny forced the deal to LA, they were doing to us what they did to the Expos, A’s and Indians before coming to Fenway.

I just say “thank you” and have them on their way.
And I have my policy… if you were on the Red Sox playoff rosters for 2004 or 2007 then I can not boo you.

But there are a few guys who test that theory… and it isn’t Manny nor Damon.

There are 4 guys who at first make me want to boo… then I have to stop and say “But they helped the Sox win a ring” and reluctantly say “Oh alright. I won’t boo.”

They are…

RAMIRO MENDOZA, Relief Pitcher. 2004

He always felt like a Yankee mole, didn’t he? I still remember him being on the mound in 1999, clinching the ALCS. (No offense to El Duque, but Mendoza should have been the MVP of the 1999 ALCS.)

He was a big pile of “eh” in his 2 seasons in Boston, compiling a combined 5.73 over 2003 and 2004. And he was the last Red Sox pitcher to record a loss in 2004, getting the decision in the 19-8 Game 3 Fiasco… against the Yankees. It was the last game he pitched in a Red Sox uniform and the Sox went 8-0 the rest of the way. I admit it looked odd seeing his celebrate with the other Red Sox at Yankee Stadium after Game 7. When he received his ring the next season, he was a member of the Yankees again.

I never trusted him. But I can’t boo him.

ERIC GAGNE, Relief Pitcher. 2007

He was supposed to be the pick up that solidified the bullpen and made the World Series a lock. Instead he became the 800 pound gorilla reliever and the very symbol of how badly someone could suck when they get off the juice.

By the time the playoffs came about, he was banished to mop up duty. The only time he pitched in a close game, it was Game 2 of the 2007 ALCS which he of course lost.

The only two positive things about Gagne’s Red Sox stay were his closing out the Division Series (in a mercy move by Tito) and this song inspired by his time in Boston.

He has a ring and Yaz doesn’t? It’s sick. But I can’t boo him.

JAVIER LOPEZ, Relief Pitcher. 2007

I watched a lot of Red Sox games in 2007. And I watched a lot of games where Javier Lopez came into the game. And I honestly have no recollection of him recording an out.

I’m not being snarky. I am sure he MUST have got a batter out. But I don’t remember it. It seemed like all of his appearances were listed in the Box Score as 0 IP, faced 2 batters.

When he came into the game, you just KNEW that Tito was going to relieve him before the inning was over. You KNEW that the rally was going to continue.

He was tough to root for… and I bid him farewell last year. As poorly as he pitched, I can’t boo him.

JULIO LUGO, Shortstop. 2007

Oh boy this is the ultimate litmus test. This guy was TOUGH to root for. Not only was he obscenely overpaid ($36 million for a guy who lost his starting job with the Dodgers) but was BRUTAL in the field and had an 0-33 stretch at the plate.

Someday we’ll learn what Orlando Cabrera did to tick off the Red Sox front office. But until then, Sox fans will all be scratching our collective heads wondering why he couldn’t stay instead of shelling out tons of money for Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo.

But he won a ring with the Sox (and made a few nice plays in the World Series.) Swallow hard… I can’t boo him.

And folks, if I refrain from booing those guys, then I think I can find it in myself to cheer some of the heroes of the ’04 and ’07 titles.

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Did the Sox REALLY get shut down in Coors Field?

Don’t talk to me about humidors… the Red Sox should score more than 1 run in Coors Field.

Instead they kept hitting into double plays and leaving men on, meaning that not only did they fail to keep up with the Yankees in the win total… not only did they blow a solid Lester start… but tomorrow they face the evidently unbeatable Ubaldo Jimenez with a chance to lose the series.
Not good, Sox.
It seemed so much easier to win in Coors in 2007!
Time to update the tally.

DODGED A BULLET GAMES – 22

April 4 – 9-7 win against Yankees (On Opening Night, the Red Sox overcome a 5-1 Yankee lead with a game tying HR by Pedroia and a go ahead passed ball.)
April 10 – 8-3 win against Kansas City (Beckett out pitches Zack Greinke and nearly gets decapitated by a line drive.)
April 14 – 6-3 win in Minnesota. (Okajima gets Morneau to pop up with the bases loaded in the 7th and Papelbon wiggled out of a 9th inning jam.)
April 20 – 7-6 win against Texas. (Darnell McDonald introduces himself to Boston with an 8th inning game tying homer and a walk off hit in the 9th.)
April 21 – 8-7 win against Texas. (The Red Sox were down 4-0 early only to win it on Youk’s 2 out 11th inning double.)
April 23 – 4-3 win against Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 3-0 lead but win it on Adrian Beltre’s bases loaded walk.)
April 24 – 7-6 win against Baltimore. (The Red Sox score 6 in the 7th and hold off a late Baltimore comeback attempt.)
April 26 – 13-12 win at Toronto. (The Sox blow an early 5-0 lead but hang on for dear life in a slugfest.)
April 27 – 2-1 win at Toronto. (Buchholz holds the Jays down for 8 but it takes a bases loaded walk in the 8th to go ahead.)
April 28 – 2-0 win at Toronto. (Daniel Bard wiggles out of trouble in the 8th to help Lester shut down the Blue Jays and finish the sweep.)
May 4 – 5-1 win against the Angels. (Juan Rivera misplays Jeremy Hermedia’s 2 out flyball into a 3 run game winning double)
May 5 – 3-1 win against the Angels. (Papi and Beltre homer and the Sox hang on despite squandering many potential rallies.)
May 6 – 11-6 win against the Angels. (Dice-K puts the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole before they even bat. The Sox bats respond.)
May 10 – 7-6 win against the Blue Jays. (Sox blow an early 2-0 lead, take advantage of some errors and hang on.)
May 18 – 7-5 win in New York. (Sox climb back from a 5-1 hole. A day after hitting a walk off homer, Marcus Thames drops a fly ball to start the winning rally for the Sox.)
May 25 – 2-0 win in Tampa. (Big Papi supplies all the offense as Papelbon wiggles out of a 9th inning jam.)
May 29 – 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Zack Greinke holds the Sox to one run, but they make it stick)
June 1 – 9-4 win against Oakland. (Lackey puts the Sox in a 4-0 hole but Victor Martinez goes 5-5 and the Sox score 9 runs late.)
June 2 – 6-4 win against Oakland. (Dice-K puts the Sox in a 3-0 hole before they come to bat, but come back thanks to Papi’s homer.)
June 8 – 3-2 win at Cleveland. (With Papelbon unavailable, Okajima, Ramirez and Bard hang on to make a winner out of Wakefield.)
June 19 – 5-4 win against the Dodgers. (Sox make 4 errors, blow a late lead and let Manny homer, but they win it in the bottom of the 9th on a Pedroia single.)
June 20 – 2-0 win against the Dodgers. (Dodgers blow an early bases loaded scoring opportunity and allow Buchholz to settle down for the win.)

TEETH GRINDER GAMES – 19

April 6 – 6-4 loss against the Yankees. (Scutaro’s error leads to the winning run.)
April 7 – 3-1 loss against the Yankees. (Sox leave the winning run on in the 9th only to lose on Granderson’s 10th inning homer)
April 9 – 4-3 loss in Kansas City. (Bard coughs up the lead, denying Wakefield a win.)
April 17 – 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Sox can’t score with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 11th… lost it in the 12th.)
April 17 – 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Red Sox comeback falls a run short, leaving two on in the 8th)
April 25 – 7-6 loss to Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 4-1 lead, leave the winning run on second in the 9th, let up 3 in the 10th and could only score 2 in the bottom of the 10th)
April 30 – 5-4 loss in Baltimore. (Tejada ties the game with a 2 out 8th inning homer and wins it with a bloop in the 10th)
May 1 – 12-9 loss in Baltimore. (Dice-K and Wakes get pounded, wasting 2 homers from Ortiz and an early 4-1 lead.)
May 2 – 3-2 loss in Baltimore. (Varitek is thrown at home trying to score with 2 outs in the 8th. Sox get swept in the 10th.
May 12 – 3-2 loss against the Blue Jays. (The Sox rally in the 9th comes up a run short and Kevin Gregg gets an ugly save.)
May 15 – 7-6 loss in Detroit. (The Sox blow a 6-1 lead and lose it on a 2 out bases loaded walk in the 12th.)
May 17 – 11-9 loss in New York. (The Sox come all the way back from a 5-0 first inning hole to take a 9-7 lead in the 9th… but Papelbon lets up a 2 run game tying shot to A-Rod and a 2 run walk off shot to Marcus Thames.)
May 21 – 5-1 loss in Philadelphia. (Big Papi’s bid for a game tying 9th inning grand slam is caught at the warning track.)
May 274-3 loss to Kansas City. (Dice-K walks the go ahead run in and lets another score on a wild pitch as the Royals no name bullpen shut down the Hot Sox.)
May 28 – 12-5 loss to Kansas City. (Sox blow a 3-0 first inning lead to be blown out in Fenway.)
June 3 – 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox lose a slugfest where two Boston runners are thrown out at home.)

June 6 – 4-3 loss in Baltimore. (Sox rally to tie the game in the 9th only to lose it on a small ball rally in the 11th.)

June 10 – 8-7 loss in Cleveland. (Sox blow an early 5-0 lead and then after rallying in the 9th to take the lead coughed it up with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th)
June 13 – 5-3 loss to Philadelphia. (Sox 9th inning rally comes up short)
June 22 – 2-1 loss in Colorado. (The Sox waste a solid Lester start and twice leave the bases loaded.)

Down to +2.

Jimenez tomorrow… maybe they’ll score some runs off of him. He’s due for a bad outing.

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Not to sound too much like Mike Francesa but…

I kinda miss Bronson Arroyo… especially when he won again for the Reds.
Keep in mind Wily Mo Pena, the right handed slugger for the future that the Sox got in that deal, is now with the Independent Bridgeport Blue Fish.
Man that trade ALWAYS sucked.
I said it then and I’m saying it now.

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